First Presbyterian Church  |  701 Florida Avenue  |  Bristol, TN 37620  |  423-764-7176  |

In This Issue
Deadline & Subscriptions
Word from the Pastor: Spirit and Truth
Informational Session Sunday on Sanctuary Acoustics
Nominate Church Officer Candidates by Next Sunday
New Members Received Oct. 27
Walk with Us through the Apostles' Creed
Next Wednesday Program: Healing Hands
Make a BFIA Care Package
Good Times Will Roll at Trunk or Treat
Casting Begins for Children's Christmas Play
Enjoy Parents' Night Out Nov. 1
Start Planning for Christmas in June at Great Escape
High School Summer Trip 2020
Goldfish for Fairmount Students
Have You Heard?
Music Notes
Pray for One Another
Church Calendar
Our Church Officers
October 20
19th Sunday after Pentecost
Psalm 30:1-5
Acts 10:39-43
1 Corinthians 15:3-8, 12-20
Raised from the Dead
Sam Weddington
Canticle of Hope
Last Sunday's Attendance
9:00: 136; 11:00: 105
Click here to livestream our contemporary service. You can also access past sermons and ministry videos on our YouTube account, "FPC Bristol."
Deadline & Subscriptions
Deadline for contributions is the Monday of the week of publication. To subscribe to our free e-newsletter, send an email with your name and preferred email address to


on First Presbyterian Church

October 17, 2019
Word from the Pastor: Spirit and Truth

But those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life ... But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.
-John 4:14, 23-24 NRSV
I don't know about you, but I'm thirsty. I'm not thirsty because I'm dehydrated, I'm thirsty because I long for that spring of water to gush out of me, and out of us as a worshiping community. And I say these words with a sense of hope and anticipation.
Our church has gone through a lot of transitions in the past few years. All of it, of course, has come in the midst of an economy and a culture that take pride in being disruptive. Tech companies and other innovators seem to relish breaking the old paradigms of how things work, so that space can be made for the new. Old institutions are passing away, and what is new seems unmoored from what we have known before. All of this has soaked into our larger cultural moment of wondering where we are going, with the only certainty being that we cannot go back.
So I'm thirsty. I'm thirsty for myself. I'm thirsty for us. I'm thirsty for us to find our sense of bearing, an orientation into this uncertain future. Lord knows, I've tried to discern it. We are in the midst of a lot of conversations at the church about sound, acoustics, worship styles, mission, engagement, and the list goes on. There are times I feel lost. I'm thirsty because I know that only Christ can give us what we long for. Only in him, in his mission, in his call, in his life-giving, refreshing presence can we attain the water we long for to quench our thirst.
So I thirst, I pray, but I do so in hope. Christ is clear with the Samaritan woman that the hour is coming, and is now here, when we will be given this water. It is coming and is now here to the degree we focus our attention, our worship, our energies, our cares, our concerns, and our anxieties on Jesus Christ. The hour is coming and is now here when we can worship God in spirit and in truth.
What does this phrase, "in spirit and in truth," mean? It can mean many things, but at rock bottom, it means that this "hour" will be on God's terms, not ours. The spirit is his, as is his truth, and both only come through encountering him.
We will gather Sunday to discuss one of several issues before us. The conversations will go on. We will continue to search and discern and discuss. We may even make a few choices. But if we are to have a true future, it will be "in spirit and in truth." Whatever comes, our thinking, our praise, and all that we do as a church community must seek to glorify Christ, not ourselves.
If he is our guide, to the degree we follow him, we shall not thirst, we shall not want (Psalm 23:1).
In Christ,
Pastor Sam
Informational Session Sunday on Sanctuary Acoustics

If you are interested in how we might improve the acoustics in the sanctuary, linger after 11:00 worship this Sunday, October 20. We will hold an informational session for the congregation about the sound issues we face, and discuss the proposals we have on hand to deal with them. JT King, a sound engineer from Florida, will be present to help us understand these issues, and we will have time for discussion and questions. The Session of Elders will be in attendance to hear what the congregation prefers in the matter of sanctuary acoustics. This is not a congregational meeting, and no vote will be taken.
Nominate Church Officer Candidates by Next Sunday
Suggesting potential Elders, Deacons, and Trustees to the Officer Nominating Committee is an important responsibility of the members of our church. Now is your opportunity to raise awareness of strengths and witness of members in our congregation that are apparent to you and that you feel warrant the committee's consideration as potential church officers.
The committee welcomes your recommendations between now and October 27 of those you see as particularly gifted to serve as officers of the church. You will find nomination forms in the narthex and Fellowship Hallway. Please return completed forms to the church office or to one of the committee members: Lee Galliher, George Linke, Laura Ong, and John Vann (chair).
Alternatively, send your confidential suggestions to the committee at with:
  1. The name of your recommendation
  2. The office (Elder, Deacon, or Trustee) to be filled
  3. A statement of the gifts, characteristics, and experiences that commend this person for effective service as a church officer of First Presbyterian Church
E lders serve as members of the church Session. Their duties are to, with pastoral staff, exercise leadership, government, spiritual discernment, discipline, and responsibility for the life of the congregation as well as of the whole church, including ecumenical relationships. Nominees therefore should be persons of wisdom, maturity of faith, and compassion, who have demonstrated skills in leadership.
Deacons practice a ministry of compassion, witness, and service, sharing in the redeeming love of Jesus Christ for the poor, the hungry, the sick, the lost, the friendless, the oppressed, those burdened by unjust policies or structures, or anyone in distress. Nominees therefore should be persons of spiritual character, honest repute, and exemplary lives who have demonstrated brotherly and sisterly love, sincere compassion, and sound judgment.
Acting only after the approval of the congregation in a duly constituted meeting, and with the approval of the Session, trustees receive, hold, encumber, manage, and transfer property, real or personal, for the congregation and manage any permanent special funds for the furtherance of the purposes of the congregation.
Consult any committee member for more information. A table of all current officers of the church can be found at the end of this newsletter. 
New Members Received Oct. 27
We invite those interested in becoming members of First Presbyterian Church Bristol to meet with our Session of Elders next Sunday, October 27, at 10:10 a.m. The meeting will be in room 167, near the Boy Scout hall entrance. For more information, ask any elder (see Church Officers at the end of this newsletter) or contact Dave Welch at
Walk with Us through the Apostles' Creed

All adults are invited to study the Apostles' Creed in tandem with Pastor Sam's new sermon series. This short-term class uses video and discussion to explore what an ancient statement can say to us now about the Good News of Jesus Christ. We are meeting in the chapel at 10:10 throughout the series. For more information, see Pastor Sam or Dave Welch.
Next Wednesday Program: Healing Hands
Helen Vance Scott

Helen Vance Scott, executive director of Healing Hands Health Center, will be the speaker for our Adult Enrichment program next Wednesday, October 23. Please be sure to join us to hear her report on this community health ministry founded by FPC. The evening will begin with a fellowship supper at 5:30, and activities for children and youth will take place at 6:00. The adult program begins at 6:15.
Make a BFIA Care Package
Each year the Evangelism & Outreach Committee offers an opportunity for our congregation to support our friends in need at Bristol Faith in Action. Throughout October, we are collecting personal care kits and basic cleaning supply kits for them. Ziploc bags will be on the seats at early worship and on the bulletin table in the narthex this Sunday and next. Each bag will contain a list of items to collect. Please fill a bag and return it to the church by Monday, October 28. You will find collection receptacles in the Fellowship Hall and the narthex. Thank you! / Karen Vann
Good Times Will Roll at Trunk or Treat
Fairmount Neighborhood Trunk or Treat just added another goody to the many that will be on hand at the school next Thursday, October 24. The Little City Roller Girls plan to skate around the parking lot and pass out candy to the kids waiting in line! The fun begins at 5:00 p.m., and it's all part of a joint project between FPC and the school to serve neighborhood children. Enjoy planning costumes for yourself and decorations for your car, and think about the missional dimension of this project. If you'd like to donate candy to the cause, you may place your contributions in the special bin outside the Fellowship Hall or take them to the front office.
Casting Begins for Children's Christmas Play
Our annual children's Christmas play, coming up Sunday, December 15, will center on the innkeeper and his annoyance at life's interruptions. What could be a better interruption than the birth of Christ? We are seeking angels, shepherds, sheep, stars, and main characters for this unusual and endearing look at the birth of Jesus. If your child, from age 4 through fifth grade, is interested in being part of this FPC tradition, please contact Lilly Osborne ( or 423-383-5476) or Sujean Bradley ( or 276-698-6492) as quickly as possible, so that we can plan accordingly.
Enjoy Parents' Night Out Nov. 1

The Children's Ministries will hold a Parents' Night Out from 6:00 to 8:30 on Friday, November 1, in the Education Wing. This event is for newborns through sixth graders. Please let Lilly Osborne know the number and ages of the children you will bring so that she can provide dinner and materials for all of them. To sign up, email Lilly at, call or text her at 423-383-5476, or use the Children's Ministries Facebook page.
Start Planning for Christmas in June at Great Escape
Leave your Christmas sweater out this year because when school is out for the summer, we want you to join the FPC Middle School Ministry for Christmas in the Great Escape! We'll leave from the church Sunday, June 7, and join middle school students from all over the country at Lee University in Cleveland, TN. We'll have a wild 'n' crazy week of incredible music, captivating speakers, engaging entertainment, and the messiest games you can imagine. One day will be devoted to an off-campus adventure! We will return to Bristol around noon on Friday, June 12.
Register by December 1 and pay the super-early bird price of $415 and a $50 deposit. Register by January 26 and pay the early bird price of $450 and a $100 deposit. After January 26 the price rises to $475. The total balance is due May 1. We do our best to offset the cost and make camp available for the lowest price possible. Scholarships are available upon request.
The cost of this amazing week includes:
  • Transportation to & from camp
  • Camp programming
  • 5 nights of lodging
  • 13 meals
  • T-shirt
  • Day of whitewater rafting on the Ocoee River
This is an event you won't want to miss, so start inviting your friends now! Register on the Student Ministries webpage; the link will be live soon. We will take registrations until the camp is full.
High School Summer Trip 2020

High schoolers! Save the date for High School Summer Trip 2020! It is planned for June 19 -27 in Panama City Beach, FLA. More info is coming soon! While you wait, check out this awesome recap video of our trip to Serve Orlando 2019. 
Goldfish for Fairmount Students

We are changing over to collecting Goldfish for snacktime at Fairmount School, where at least two children in each of 16 classrooms need assistance and the snacks go quickly. We take our donations to the school, and the teachers divide the contents into child-size portions. We need to provide 20 portions per child per month. Please remember our Fairmount children the next time you shop, and bring your donations to the Little Red House in the Fellowship Hallway. Thank you!
Have You Heard?

If you can't hear the grass growing by Sunday, come to the sanctuary acoustical info session and raise the matter. Mower to the point, Randy Olson (October 16 -19) has his ear to the ground this week. Also dedicated to his duty, Bruce Gannaway has pledged to find time October 23 -26 to mow the church lawn, as will be evident when we dedicate our annual pledges October 27.
Music Notes
Joseph Martin
Sunday's music: Our anthem this week is "Canticle of Hope," written by Joseph M. Martin (b. 1959) to honor the people of Oklahoma City after the horrific bombing on April 19, 1995. It is a powerful piece that affirms the role God plays in our lives. Martin is Director of Sacred Publications at Shawnee Press and coordinates recording and production of sacred publications. He maintains an active schedule as a pianist. The North Carolina native earned his Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from Furman University and his Master of Music in Piano Performance from the University of Texas.
Organist's footnotes: Relating to our portion of the Apostles' Creed, "raised from the dead," I have chosen a variety of settings of the German hymn "Christ ist erstanden" ("Christ the Lord Is Risen Again!"). I first heard this hymn in college, singing in the Oberlin Collegium Musicum in a program of Renaissance music called The Return to Life. There were several settings of this hymn in the program, so by performance it had become engrained in my brain for life! A translation of the German text follows:
(1) Christ is risen from all his torments, we should all be joyful at this. Christ wants to be our consolation. Lord, have mercy. (2) If he were not risen, then the world would be lost. Since he is risen, we praise the father of Jesus Christ. Lord, have mercy. (3) Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia! We should all be joyful at this. Christ wants to be our consolation. Lord, have mercy.
This hymn has different music for each of its three stanzas. J.S. Bach's (1685 -1750) setting in The Liturgical Year (also known as the Orgelb├╝chlein or "Little Organ Book") has a different setting for each stanza. We have time to hear all three of them for our prelude this morning.
Evelyn Pursley-Kopitzke
Evelyn Pursley-Kopitzke's (b. 1954) "'Christus ist erstanden' Variations" (offertory) uses the first stanza as its theme (as do most other arrangements). The theme is clearly heard at the beginning, and it immediately dovetails into the five short variations. Pursley-Kopitzke lives in Blountville with her husband, Steve.
We conclude worship with a more romantic treatment, Healey Willan's (1880 -1968) "Prelude on 'Christ ist erstanden.'" The cantus firmus (main melody) is played one isolated phrase at a time in the pedal and may be difficult to decipher in this rather over-the-top arrangement. Willan emigrated from England to Canada as a young man and became regarded as one of Canada's premier composers of church music.
Ring a bell: The Sanctuary Handbell Choir is looking for new regular members as well as substitutes. We practice from 6:15 to 7:15 on Wednesday evenings in room 212 upstairs, and play for the late worship service about once a month. Please join us! Contact Bob Greene at or 276-696-9091.
Pray for One Another

In Our Prayers
Please also include in your prayers members of our community who wish to remain anonymous.
Beth & Brian
Christians in Nigeria/ECWA
Anthony Comer
Dorothy Dollar
Ethiopian brothers & sisters
DeeDee Galliher
Diane Glymph
Jane Godsey
Ron Grubbs
Sarah Haas
Lou Hebb
Kristi Johnson
Marty Keys & family
Nancy King's family
Dot Mattison
Roger McCracken
Alice Moore
Donald Page
Don Preston
Matt Richardson
Larry Roberts (Greg's brother)
Peggy Rutherford
Virginia Rutherford
Joan Sams
Katlin Smith
Stigers family
Ashley Thomasson
Bill Woods
To the Church Triumphant
Nancy Bradley King
October 9, 2019
Birthday Prayer Fellowship
Oct. 20        Dyan Buck, Alicia Mumpower
Oct. 22        Cliff Bailey, Peachy Bane, Nancy Cook, Gwen King, J.T. Scott
Oct. 23        Junella McClellan, Carl McGrady
Oct. 24        Trent Dowdell, Alice Graham, Lance Tudor
Oct. 26        Martin Kent, Josh King
Church Calendar
Sunday, October 20
9:00 a.m.       Worship, Fellowship Hall
10:10 a.m.     Sunday School
10:30 a.m.     Sanctuary Choir, Room 202
11:00 a.m.     Worship, Sanctuary
12:00 p.m.     Congregational Information Session, Sanctuary
4:00 p.m.       Evangelism & Outreach Comm., Room 117
6:00 p.m.       Student Fellowship, Fellowship Hall
Tuesday, October 22
10:00 a.m.     Morning Prayer Group, Conf. Room
10:00 a.m.     Staff Meeting, Room 117
7:00 p.m.       Boy Scout Troop 3, Scout Wing
Wednesday, October 23
9:30 a.m.       Women's Bible Study, Room 117
4:00 p.m.       Children's Volunteers, Room 117
5:15 p.m.       Baby & Toddler Care, Rooms 34 - 37
5:30 p.m.       Fellowship Dinner, Fellowship Hall
6:00 p.m.       Wednesday Night Kids
6:00 p.m.       Middle School Gathering
6:00 p.m.       High School Small Groups
6:15 p.m.       Adult Enrichment
6:15 p.m.       Handbell Choir, Room 212
7:15 p.m.       Sanctuary Choir, Room 202
Thursday, October 24
7:00 a.m.       Men's Bible Study, Parlor
12:00 p.m.     Noon Bible Study, Room 117
5:00 p.m.       Trunk or Treat, Fairmount School
Our Church Officers
Church Officers
Class of 2019
Class of 2020
Class of 2021
Anna Booher
Nancy Allerton
Ann Abel
Lee Galliher
Rebecca Beck
Randy Cook
Pete Holler
David Hyde
John Graham
Han Ong
Jordan Pennington
Katie McInnis
Pete Stigers
Jerry Poteat
John Vann
Sujean Bradley
Blake Bassett
Fred Harkleroad
George Linke
Rhonda Comer
Matt Kingsley
Greg Roberts
Ron Fox
Lisa McClain
Nate Sproles
Brenda Lawson
Drew Rice
Bill Whisnant
Barbara Thompson
Joyce Samuel
Nancy Cook
Peggy Hill
Jack Butterworth